Artwork sale to benefit cancer center

Posted Oct. 20, 2010, at 6:56 p.m.

Artwork by painter-printmaker Arlyss Becker of Lamoine is on display and available for purchase in The Bud Connection in Ellsworth as part of a fundraiser-contest for the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center in Ellsworth through Nov. 5.

The six pieces of artwork are part of the collection “My Way of Healing.” Each piece represents how a person might deal with being diagnosed with cancer. She uses a variety of media — ceramic, bras, swimming suits, lace, napkins and tablecloth fabric — on canvas or panel to create abstract imagery about the strength of coping with cancer.

“I haven’t gone through it, but I’ve had way too many friends who have,” Becker said. “I’ve watched how people reacted and dealt with it instead of falling apart — the way they hold themselves together and look at it as a process that helps them grow.”

A thin garment, usually a bra, is the focal point of the artwork. Each is themed to represent a woman of a certain profession. For example, Becker imagines that a chef diagnosed with cancer might think about surviving to make herself a birthday cake, so that is what the art expresses.

Becker paid $5 to submit each piece of artwork to the contest. In addition, $50 from her sales will go to the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center.

Usually the artwork sells for $200 per piece, but she marked them down to $100 in hopes of selling more for the cause.

“I really think the donation by the artist is very special,” said Barbara Courchesne, The Bud Connection owner. “The pieces are really personal for her, very serious.”

“A bra feels feminine, personal and fragile,” Becker said. “It’s not like an overcoat, just a wispy body covering. We put things over it and cover it up. When we cut that hole out, we are exposed and let the scar show.”

In 2006, six pieces of the collection were put on permanent display in the mammography clinic in St. Anthony Medical Center in Frisco, Colo.

“They’ve been up in different places, and a lot of people have seen them,” said Becker. “I’m ready to let them move on. I just want people to be able to see them and react and maybe be given some hope.”